Is anyone feeling me today? I have been inundated with trying new things on my computer. I am looking at apps, websites, building “stuff”. This old dog is trying to learn new tricks! I keep saying to myself “oh for heaven’s sake Terrie”! Branding oneself takes time and knowledge. The Lord has graciously given me time, now I just need to seek the knowledge. I have stories to tell: stories of abuse, neglect, abandonment, rejection, divorce, raising a family at 14, having a very sick, special needs daughter with a rare syndrome, praying for my husband’s salvation for 15 years, estrangement from my mother for many years and her miraculous healing from alcoholism and our reconciliation just before she died, there are many more to tell. There were times when I just had to laugh, it became so overwhelming! With those stories come the stories of God’s sovereignty in my life and how He walked with me through all of it even though I didn’t realize that it was His mighty hands that held me. Storms came and mighty storms went but I am still here. God has allowed me to go through those storms to praise Him and to tell others that are going through the same things that there is hope. There is a living hope.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5 has become a theme song for me. The Hebrew word for trust in that verse is “batach” which means to hide for refuge, be confident or sure, put confidence in. So, in other words “Hide for refuge, be confident or sure, put confidence in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. Abandon yourself to His care 100%. I have a story to tell and a Savior to praise. Some of you need to hear my story because you are living it right now! Trusting God takes guts. It really does. I am talking take no prisoners, full speed ahead guts. Courage does not come easy to me or to most of us. I constantly need a reminder that “God has got this”. I am convinced that is why He gave me #Project Penny in 2004. There is hope, there is rescue, there is God. If your women’s group is looking for a speaker, I am ready. Call me, send me an email, find me on Facebook or Instagram. Women need hope, they need sisterhood, they need Christ. #InGodwetrust #Pennywise #whenyouwalkwiththewise
“But wait, there’s more,” the expected voice says from the infomercial blaring from the television. Ever notice that commercials and infomercials are louder than regular television programs? I am sure in your lifetime you have watched an infomercial or six either while being bored on a Saturday afternoon when you forgot to renew Netflix or maybe in the wee hours of the morning when you ran out of sheep to count and gave in to the call of the flat screen on your dresser. Infomercials want your attention as they hawk their grills, exercise torture DVDs, diet plans, super mops, turbo ovens; the list is endless. You get the idea. But wait…there’s more. I have fallen for it from time to time only to find I could get the same deal at my local Target on the “As Seen On TV” shelf without paying the exorbitant shipping and handling charges!
In Romans 5 the Apostle Paul uses two phrases to get our attention and assure those seeking Christ that there is “much more” or “more than that” to a glorious relationship with Jesus Christ. This “much more” and “more than that” came at a price that only He could pay. It is a gift worth receiving and does not come with shipping charges. In verses 1 and 2 Paul tells us what we have in God through Jesus Christ. In Christ we have been justified in our faith and have peace with God; we have obtained access by that faith into THIS grace in which we stand. This grace is a thing. It is a “this grace.” It is God’s grace that only He can give, and we stand in it because of Jesus. We also rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
So here we go. In verse 3 we see our first “more than that.” You might ask, “more than what?” Wait for it…we rejoice in our sufferings! WHAT? Seriously, more than rejoicing in the hope of God we rejoice in our sufferings? This does not mean we say “yippee for suffering – bring it on.” It means that in our sufferings we can rejoice because a work is being done in those sufferings. As we go through the trial, the suffering produces endurance and that endurance produces character in us. The character we develop through enduring in the suffering then produces hope and that hope does not put us to shame. Why? Because as we were going through it all, God’s love was being poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. That is the “much more.” We are equipped to go through those tough times and come out hopeful that what we went through with Jesus’ help made our character a little more like His.
Drop down to verse 9 and Paul reminds us that since we have been justified by the blood of Jesus, “much more” shall we be saved from the wrath of God (whew). We have peace with God, remember from verse 1? We are no longer enemies! In verse 10 he tells us that if for a while we were enemies of God, then we were reconciled by the death of Jesus. Now “much more” we are reconciled; we are saved by His life (He arose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God). Finally, in verse 11 we have our “but wait there’s much more than that.” We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ whom we have now received reconciliation. Because of what Jesus did, we are not enemies with God anymore; He has given us access through Jesus’ blood into His grace. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We also rejoice in our suffering where we obtain endurance. That endurance produces character and in that character a hope is born that does not put us to shame. Suffering drives us to the place where we will find real hope.
Have you experienced a “much more than that” moment with Jesus? Just knowing that His death and resurrection gave us access to grace, reconciliation with God, endurance and hope through suffering gives me a cause to rejoice! I can stand in “this grace” and know I am not an enemy of God who is subject to His wrath. I am praying for you dear one, that you will look to Jesus and experience that “ever so much more.”